Happy holidays! This will be the first in a series of updates regarding our trip to Shanghai this winter. I’d like to thank you all for partnering with me this holiday season as we bring the true message of love, redemption, and birth of Christ to China. It’s been a whirlwind of activity since I got to talk to you and time has really flown by. First of many great news. In our few short weeks of fundraising, your generosity helped us raise nearly twice our original team target with a total of $6000! I’ve been floored to see brothers and sisters give so radically (crazy love style…as f.chan might put it)!
Tomorrow (Sunday) my teammates David Pat and Virginia Perng are heading out of LAX enroute to Shanghai. Please pray for their safety. I will be joining them in Shanghai in about 13 days.
It’s quite cold in Shanghai at the moment, with temperatures between mid 40’s and low 30’s. Being a Cali person most my whole life, Shanghai has simply been described to me as “bone-chillingly cold”. In the next few days, David and Virginia will be meeting up with the house church and their contacts as well as begin training with the house church leaders. When I join them, we will focus most of our time primarily at the Fudan University.
There’s something that was really encouraging to me this last week and I just wanted to share it with you in this email.
Three years ago at the Urbana Convention, Oscar Muriu spoke on 1st Cor 12 about “one body many parts”. He is a pastor from Kenya and years ago he went around America asking leading pastors, “if I were to send a team of missionaries to America, how can they serve you?”. I remember sitting there thinking “really, what do Kenyans have to offer us? We have technology, churches, vbs galore, humanitarian services…”. It was no surprise then that Muriu went on to say that many pastors echoed my thoughts and closed the door on him. He then proceeded to share how 1st Cor 12 depicts a picture of one body in unity, where there is communication and complete synergy. “While the church in Africa is young, we may depend a little more on foreign missionaries. But as we mature, we must send our own to your countries”. This image of a global body blew my mind away as I had never once pondered what happens once the gospel spreads and matures among those who are being reached.
This leads me to a conversation I had last week with Pastor Aaron, the house church leader in Shanghai. David was skype-ing P. Aaron, and David shared with him this idea that as the church in Shanghai matures, it is important that members participate in the missions effort. David was sharing a vision of sending a missions team to Kyrgyzstan with Shanghai church members. Now to better understand why Kyrgystan, we have to understand where Krygystan leads into. Krygystan hugs the western border of China and is seen by some as the front line religious battle zone. It is seen by many missionaries as the foothold into the Muslim world and on the other hand seen by many Muslims as a political and religious foothold as well. There is a lot at stake in Krygystan and it is by no means a safe area for any religion. So with that understanding, P. Aaron completely shocked me with his response to David’s vision. “Yeah, I have been praying about that too. We (him and his family) might move there.”
CRAZY! As indicated in my missions letter, P. Aaron and his congregation is no stranger to persecution from the government, but this still is such an amazing display of faith and obedience to God’s call! For members in the church of Shanghai to be praying about joining the missions effort already is evidence plenty that God is stirring hearts. This is a really interesting read into the ramifications of such obedience: (http://www.christianpost.com/article/20091119/mission-expert-china-holds-potential-to-complete-great-commission/index.html)
I hope not to overbear you with too much per update, so I’ll stop here but stay tuned for more!